The Lisa is a personal computer designed by Apple Computer, Inc. during the early 1980s. It was the first personal computer to offer a graphical user interface in an inexpensive machine aimed at individual business users.
Development of the Lisa began in 1978 as a powerful personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) targeted toward business customers.
In 1982, Steve Jobs was forced out of the Lisa project, so he joined the Macintosh project instead. The Macintosh is not a direct descendant of Lisa, although there are obvious similarities between the systems and the final revision, the Lisa 2/10, was modified and sold as the Macintosh XL.
The Lisa was a more advanced system than the Macintosh of that time in many respects, such as its inclusion of protected memory, cooperative multitasking, a generally more sophisticated hard disk based operating system, a built-in screensaver, an advanced calculator with a paper tape and RPN, support for up to 2 megabytes (MB) of RAM, expansion slots, a numeric keypad, data corruption protection schemes such as block sparing, non-physical file names (with the ability to have multiple documents with the same name), and a larger higher-resolution display. It would be many years before many of those features were implemented on the Macintosh platform. Protected memory, for instance, did not arrive until the Mac OS X operating system was released in 2001. The Macintosh featured a faster 68000 processor (7.89 MHz) and sound. The complexity of the Lisa operating system and its programs taxed the 5 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor so that consumers said it felt sluggish, particularly when scrolling in documents.
The original Lisa had two Apple FileWare 5.25-inch double-sided floppy disk drives, more commonly known by Apple's internal code name for the drive: "Twiggy". They had a capacity of approximately 871 kB each, but required special diskettes. The Macintosh, which was originally designed to have a single Twiggy drive, was revised to use a Sony 400 kB microfloppy drive in January 1984. An optional external 5 MB or, later, a 10 MB Apple ProFile hard drive (originally designed for the Apple III) was available. With the introduction of the Lisa 2, an optional 10 MB internal proprietary hard disk manufactured by Apple, known as the "Widget," was also offered.
The Lisa operating system featured cooperative (non-preemptive) multitasking and virtual memory, then extremely advanced features for a personal computer. The use of virtual memory coupled with a fairly slow disk system made the system performance seem glacial at times. Based in part on advanced elements from the failed Apple III SOS operating system released three years earlier, the Lisa also organized its files in hierarchal directories, making the use of large hard drives practical. The Macintosh would eventually adopt this disk organizational design as well for its HFS filing system. Conceptually, the Lisa resembles the Xerox Star in the sense that it was envisioned as an office computing system; consequently, Lisa has two main user modes: the Lisa Office System and the Workshop. The Lisa Office System is the GUI environment for end users. The Workshop was a program development environment, and was almost entirely text-based, though it used a GUI text editor. The Lisa Office System was eventually renamed "7/7", in reference to the seven supplied application programs: LisaWrite, LisaCalc, LisaDraw, LisaGraph, LisaProject, LisaList, and LisaTerminal.
The Apple Lisa was a commercial failure for Apple, the largest since the failure of the Apple III of 1980. The intended business customers were reluctant to purchase the machine because of its high price (nearly $10,000), making it largely unable to compete with the less expensive IBM PCs, which were already beginning to dominate business desktop computing, as well as Steve Jobs' announcement that they'd be releasing a superior system in the future which would not be compatible with it. The largest Lisa customer was NASA, which used LisaProject for project management and was eventually faced with significant problems when the Lisa was discontinued.
The release of the Apple Macintosh in 1984, which was faster and much less expensive, was the most significant factor in the Lisa's demise. Two later Lisa models were released (the Lisa 2 and its Mac ROM-enabled sibling Macintosh XL) before the Lisa line was discontinued in April 1985. In 1986, Apple offered all Lisa/XL owners the opportunity to return their computer and US$1,498.00, in return for a Macintosh Plus and Hard Disk 20.
Browsing the Collection
There are 30 images for the Apple Lisa in this collection, all of them applications.To browse the collection of software, click this link.